This year we've been focusing on topics around revenue generation for makers and artisans. Early in the year we started with a series on Branding, then Retail Markets & Shows, and then E-Commerce. This quarter we want to shift to Wholesale concepts.
In the next few weeks we'll be exploring wholesaling as an artist or maker—what it is, how it works, what the advantages and disadvantages are, and how, if you decide to pursue a wholesale plan, to set prices that fairly and consistently reflect the value of your work and product.
In this Article:
In short, the retailer concentrates on selling the products so that artists can concentrate on actually creating their work.
Key Ingredients to Success
Key ingredients to success in the wholesale setting are:
Your success with these tasks will determine the level of your wholesaling success overall and, at best, can provide your art business with a steady source of income.
Wholesaling your art works well for products that can be streamlined to cut down on overhead and time involved in producing. This allows you to increase the volume of your supply to the retailer, providing greater sales volume. If you are unable or unwilling to mass produce your work, the wholesale process is probably not for you.
But Mass Producing doesn't feel like ART
Perhaps you, like many artists and makers, don't believe you can earn a profit by offering your work through wholesale. The key to wholesale success, however, is volume—selling enough of your product to the wholesaler at the reduced price.
This involves creating your product in multiples, meaning you must be willing to design a collection that can be made over and over.
Although this requires effort on your part, wholesaling one-of-a-kind artwork can be successful if you establish a process that produces multiples of your product in a leaner, more cost-efficient manner.
Tricks to Reduce your Production Time
How can you offer one-of-a-kind products in a wholesale arrangement?
Producing multiples could involve creating smaller, less expensive pieces instead of larger pieces that are priced much higher. Offer lower-priced reproductions of your custom products that can be purchased outright by buyers in shops and galleries. You might consider working in different media to diversify. Have products that appeal to both men and women, or to those in different age demographics—this way, your artwork will have wider appeal and a less narrow focus.
Remember that your own retail price needs to take into account this formula as well. So, what you sell your own work for needs to mirror what the retailers will ultimately sell it for as well.
Sell More, Market Less
Ultimately, the goal of wholesaling is to spend your time creating the art you love, not crunching numbers and shuffling papers. As a business, you can never completely avoid these tasks, but wholesaling gives retailers more of the administrative tasks of your business and allows you to focus on creating the art you love.
Check back with us in the coming weeks as we explore in greater depth tips for establishing wholesale accounts, the advantages and disadvantages of wholesaling, setting fair pricing for your wholesale products, and managing the business side of your wholesale efforts.
Written by: Beth Wineland, Senior Writer & Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org